By Nunzio Signore (B.A, NASM, PES, CES)
Now that the baseball off season is here we have the gym filled with not only ball players but parents of ball players. Our most frequently asked question is “what do you guys do as far a baseball specific training?” My answer is usually “it’s not what we do, it’s what we don’t do.”
Throwing a baseball is the fastest movement in all of sports. This is a huge amount of stress placed on the arm throughout a season. There are certain exercises that we believe do not belong in the program of an already taxed arm but this is a topic for another article.
At RPP we view all athletes as a race car, with the coaches being the drivers and ourselves the mechanics.
Our job is to fix postural issues, develop power, speed, and agility as well as overall strength giving the coach a faster more efficient vehicle upon returning next season. Let’s take a look at what goes into a complete strength and conditioning program like the ones we use at RPP:
1. Foam Rolling (myofascial release) :
We do this at the beginning of each session to relieve knots and adhesions that develop from overuse and day to day activity. This lengthens the muscle, making it more “flexible” thus putting less strain on the joints during athletic movement. Which helps improve point #2
Teaching correct movement in the warm up teaches young athletes to move correctly and more efficiently (a key element to help reduce the risk of injury) note: without #’s 1 and 2 the rest is an accident waiting to happen.
Agility is not simply moving through ladders. It is also learning how to decelerate and stop. In most athletic situations it’s not the fastest athlete who is the quickest, it’s the athlete that can stop and change direction the quickest.
All movement in life is generated in the core first then branching out to the limbs from there. The core needs to be able to generate power front to back, side to side, and in a rotary (turning) manner. One is severely compromised without the other.
5. Strength Training:
This is where most programs fall short. Strength training whether it be body weight or in a weight room is essential to generate power. Without strength there is no power. Without power there is no speed. Period.
In most sports speed is about the first 10 yards. Once power is established and running mechanics learned, speed is inevitable.
This helps increase endurance. Conditioning is done in a manner specific to the demands of the sport. (Ex. A soccer player requires more cardiovascular endurance compared to a baseball player due to the amount of time they are running continuously without stopping.)
Making sure that you or your child’s program is complete can be a true “game changer”.